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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 313.0 km/sec
density: 2.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
1937 UT May04
24-hr: C2
1937 UT May04
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 04 May 12
Sunspot 1469 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 107
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 03 May 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 03 May 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 114 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 03 May 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.0 nT
Bz: 2.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 04 May 12
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on May 9-10. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 May 04 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
10 %
10 %
CLASS X
01 %
01 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2012 May 04 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Friday, May. 4, 2012
What's up in space
 

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

 
Own your own meteorite

PERIGEE "SUPER MOON" ON MAY 5-6: Get ready for moonlight! The full Moon of May 5-6, 2012, is a perigee moon, as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons of 2012. [video] [full story]

ETA AQUARID METEOR UPDATE: The eta Aquarid meteor shower, due to peak on May 5-6, is already underway. Cameras in NASA's All-Sky Fireball Network have picked up more than a dozen eta-fireballs this week, including seven last night alone. NASA astronomer Bill Cooke prepared this diagram showing the orbits of the fireballs detected so far:

"The purple line traces the orbit of Halley's Comet, source of the eta Aquarids," says Cooke. "Blue lines are orbits of the individual fireballs determined from simultaneous observations by multiple cameras." A statistical analysis of the data shows that the fireballs hit Earth's atmosphere traveling about 66 km/s (139,000 mph) and disintegrated about 90 km (52 mi) above Earth's surface.

Forecasters expect the shower to peak this weekend; the best time to look is during the hours before sunrise on Saturday, May 5th. (Note: Last night's flurry of fireball activity suggests the shower may be peaking early, making May 5th the date to watch rather than May 6th as we earlier suggested.) Because the shower's radiant is located below the celestial equator, southern hemisphere observers are favored, but even northerners should be able to see a few eta Aquarids. Super-bright moonlight will cap the meteor rate at about 30 per hour.

LISTEN! Radar signals penetrate moonlight with ease. Tune into Space Weather Radio for live echoes from eta Aquarids passing over the US Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas.

VENUS IS NOT ALONE: When the sun sets tonight, go outside and look west. The Evening Star, Venus, is not alone. Second-magnitude star El Nath is less than a degree away. Marek Nikodem photographed the pair on May 2nd from the countryside near Niedźwiady, Poland:

The planet and the star are converging. At closest approach on May 6th, they will be 0.8 degrees apart, a gap so small you can hide it behind the outstreched tip of your index finger.

If you have a telescope, point it at Venus. The planet is at its brightest for all of 2012, and backyard optics easily resolve it into a 27% crescent. Swing over to El Nath for a different experience. The star, which lies 130 light years away, is a pinprick of light unresolved by the most powerful telescopes on Earth.

more images: from John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio; from Gene Taylor near Skyline Arch in Arches National Park, Utah; from Andrea Aletti of Varese, Italy; from Luis Argerich of Buenos Aires, Argentina; from Mariusz Rudziński of Mirostowice Dolne, Poland; from Carlos Rosatti of San Jose, Uruguay;

  Near Earth Asteroids
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On May 4, 2012 there were 1287 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 WV134
Apr 28
38.6 LD
--
1.6 km
2012 HE31
Apr 30
2.7 LD
--
31 m
1992 JD
May 2
9.5 LD
--
43 m
2012 HA34
May 2
2.9 LD
--
38 m
2010 KK37
May 19
2.3 LD
--
31 m
4183 Cuno
May 20
47.4 LD
--
5.7 km
2002 VX94
May 26
72.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2002 AC
Jun 16
62.2 LD
--
1.2 km
1999 BJ8
Jun 16
68.8 LD
--
1.1 km
2005 GO21
Jun 21
17.1 LD
--
2.2 km
2003 KU2
Jul 15
40.3 LD
--
1.3 km
2004 EW9
Jul 16
46.8 LD
--
2.1 km
2002 AM31
Jul 22
13.7 LD
--
1.0 km
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
  Essential web links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government space weather bureau
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
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  more links...
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